Category Archives: News

The sacrifice zone

Nowhere is the abuse as frightening as in Louisiana—with the exception, perhaps, of its neighbor to the east (“Thank God for Mississippi!” is the unofficial state motto). Louisiana is the second-poorest state and second-to-last in human development, which is a measure of individual freedom. The state’s rate of fatal cancers is about 30 percent higher than the national average. For all its antifederalism, Louisiana is fourth in accepting government welfare, with 44 percent of its budget coming from Washington. (Many of Hochschild’s Tea Party friends are beneficiaries of federal welfare programs.) Louisiana has the highest rate of death by gunfire (nearly double the national average), the highest rate of incarceration, and is the fifth-least-educated, reflecting the fact that it spends the fifth-least on education. It is sixth in the nation in generating hazardous waste, and third in importing it, since it makes a side business out of storing other states’ trash.

Louisiana’s governor is among the most powerful chief executives in the nation, a legacy that dates back to Huey Long’s administration, and under Governor Bobby Jindal’s dictatorship, between 2008 and 2016, the state’s prospects declined with unprecedented severity. After he reduced corporate income taxes and expanded the exemptions granted to oil and gas companies, the state’s revenue tumbled roughly $3 billion. He transferred $1.6 billion from public schools and hospitals to oil companies in the form of new tax incentives, under the theory that the presence of oil and a robust petrochemical infrastructure were not incentives enough. (The Louisiana Legislature is not only soaked with oil and gas lobbyists—during a recent session there were seventy for 144 legislators—but many lawmakers themselves hold industry jobs while serving in office.) Jindal fired 30,000 state employees, furloughed many others, cut education funding by nearly half, and sold off as many state-owned parking lots, farms, and hospitals as he could.

Despite these punishing cuts, he managed over the course of his administration to turn a $900 million budget surplus into a $1.6 billion deficit. National agencies downgraded the state’s credit rating. The damage was so great that it helped to bring about one of the most unlikely election results in recent American history. Jindal’s successor is John Bel Edwards, a Democrat—the only one to hold statewide office. Edwards is vehemently pro-life and agnostic about climate change, but he is determined to hold the oil and gas industry responsible for funding their share of coastal restoration. He currently enjoys a 62.5 percent approval rating. Almost a year into his first term, however, despite several emergency measures, the state remains in arrears.

The book has key information, even if I am not convinced the author does not exoticize our people somewhat. And I LOVE the term “sacrifice zone,” it is SO apt.

Axé.

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Eleventh day of Christmas

irkutsk

Just in case you have never seen a sleigh pulled by a reindeer, here is one. My eccentric cousin had them in Lapland and Scotland, of course, but this is a postcard sent to Moscow in 1911 from the eastern reaches of the Irkutsk Oblast, where the sender was exiled or imprisoned. I know of it from my relatives who are interested in old things, although the sender and original recipient are friends of theirs, not relatives of mine. It is an exotic photograph in every way.

Axé.

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Things learned from surfing

Stupid motivational tricks published some spiritual exercises from which I learned that the fear and fretting que me aquejan desde la Reeducación simply must be put aside.

Meanwhile, I got hooked on a truly trashy tv series of the kind set in European courts. I like these as palace politics resemble politics at work.

In this one, I learned from Nostradamus that you really can decide not to let the “darkness” live in you; also, the young royals keep on saying they want to decide what kind of kings they want to be (rather do things as they “should” be done or as I would put it, follow academic advice).

I also learned from political discussions that I am a threat as long as I do not have power. (It causes me trouble that I am seen as a threat.) I have to take power, rise. This doesn’t mean take over, but it does mean define oneself, perhaps. But I must take and use power.

Axé.

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Filed under Banes, News, Theories Bibliography

Lemmas

A colleague said:

It is not a university, it is A PLANTATION.
It is not a department, it is SOMEONE’S PSYCHIC SCENARIO.
Therefore, DO NOT HOPE FOR RATIONALITY.

Axé.

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In which I am outspoken in ways that I do not even realize

Person: I do not want children. I feel guilty about this as it is my responsibility to have them.
Z: Studies show that every U.S. child born is highly detrimental to the environment no matter how green their lifestyle. There is no reason to feel guilty about not having them.
Person brightens.
Bystander (to Person):
 How can you look happy when you were just told something so mean?

Axé. 

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A serious question, and lagniappe

What is a good literary or poetry magazine, in French, that publishes translations and that is not terribly hard to get into? One of my undergraduates has published translations to English in Alchemy (a translation journal for students) and Tripwire (a poetry journal, not just for students), and I know of many other places to submit translations to English.

I also know that Asymptote has a Spanish version somehow, and is looking for interns too (if you are interested, the best way to find out about that is probably on Facebook). But what about translations of Cristina Peri Rossi to French? This is for a different student. The only non-super-famous journal I have found that might publish translations of an Uruguayan poet is Nuit Blanche and I would like more options. Here are some of the journals and presses I have learned of in this quest: The Apostles Review, Hablar de poesía, Reflet de lettres. There are more.

Lagniappe for today includes a recreation of a Homeric performance, a new recording of ancient Babylonian songs, a very interesting interview with Zizek on “esa izquierda que ni siquiera desea ganar,” a response to Wendy Brown’s analysis of neoliberalism, an interview of Roberto Echavarren about poetry and identity, an interview of Enrique Dussel on Latin American culture and the future, an essay on language teaching and the foreign language requirement, David Sobrevilla’s piece on Moro, surrealism and homosexuality; the Institut français d’études andines, Bruno Bosteels’ new book on Marx and Freud in Latin America, writings of René Magritte, and a correspondence on surrealism between Adorno and a graduate student.

Also, I have found a new source of the kind of bed linen I want. I do not buy sheets or pillowcases by the set, but by the piece, as I do not have more cash than that. But I can tell you that really good bed linen lasts a very long time, and is less expensive than any other.

I have a burning question: what was I going to do with Agamben (in relation to Foucault and Vallejo) and where is that book chapter? This question is truly burning since I have given up other activism and committed to poetry, put poetry first, openly, for the first time.

Axé.

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Olodumare

Our luck has changed and the tide is turning, I can feel it. I have had this feeling once before that I can identify clearly–something was happening, I did not know what it was, but it was good, I knew–and I recognize it now.

Axé.

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